YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Leaders with Youngstown State University’s faculty union say some of the cuts made to staff are not part of what administrators told them would be cuts impacting programs that are slated for “sunsetting.”
YSU-OEA announced Friday that faculty members from a number of departments received notices of “non-reappointment” on Nov. 11. They added that while some of those layoff notices were sent to faculty of programs that are being cut, there were notices sent to tenured members in “higher ranked” programs, saying some of those programs were classified as “grow” or “sustain.”
“We are in utter shock that YSU would cut faculty in programs that are healthy and that have solid enrollment,” said YSU-OEA President Susan Clutter.
Union officials say they had an agreement with YSU administration to extend the notification date for the layoffs from November 15 to the 22 so they would have time to write an objection to the program sunsets, but the notices were sent anyway, calling some of them “retaliatory.”
“The ink wasn’t even dry on that MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) before people started getting their notices, and on a day the university was closed for business, no less,” Clutter said.
The cuts come as YSU is facing a reduction in enrollment and revenue. Neal McNally, YSU vice president for finance and business operations, said on Wednesday that YSU will continue to become a smaller university in terms of enrollment.
A YSU-OEA emergency membership meeting was scheduled for Friday to discuss the layoffs.
YSU’s administration issued a statement Friday saying that nonrenewal and retrenchment notifications are going out as “per the contract and memorandum of understanding that allows additional time to appeal actions.”
“The union leadership’s accusation that the actions are targeted or retaliatory is baseless,” administrators wrote in a prepared release.
Administrators went on to say that the need to downsize is the result of an 18-month comprehensive review of the university and its 140 academic programs, of which several have zero or few students.
The university is financially sound, administrators say, and is not in dire straits, thanks to budget actions over the past several years.
“We remain hopeful that the process now underway, while painful and regrettable, can be conducted in a professional, collegiate manner. It is only together that we can most effectively face our challenges and assure a vibrant future for YSU,” they wrote.